A proposal engineer prepares detailed documentation to support a bid for a project such as building a new facility, or designing a new software product. These specialists can increase the chances of a successful submission because they have extensive experience and skills. Some work full time for a company which continually submits proposals and fulfills contracts. Others may be called in as consultants when a company wants assistance with a proposal and wishes to increase the chance of a positive outcome.
When a call for proposals is issued, the proposal engineer can review it, determine if the client can meet the needs outlined in the proposal, and start researching to develop the documentation. Proposals need to outline projected costs, materials, labor needs, and other matters. The proposal engineer must be familiar with the client's capacity and abilities to be able to generate an effective and persuasive proposal. Since costs are also a key consideration, pricing has to be performed very carefully.
The proposal engineer can show how the company will meet the specifications, providing information about its qualifications and personnel. In addition, the proposal may provide breakdowns of material, equipment, and other supplies the company will need to complete the job. Engineers can also estimate how much time will be required to successfully finish the work and turn it over to the client. All of this information lets the client know what to expect and in what time frame.
Finally, the proposal engineer needs to generate detailed and accurate pricing estimates. The engineer may provide several pricing models to demonstrate how the price will change with different options. Prices can become set in the contract, and it is important to make sure they are correct in the bid.
Personnel in charge of reviewing bids may also gravitate towards the proposals with the lowest prices. This can be a requirement in some open bid contracts, where the proposal with the lowest prices from a qualified candidate may win. Costing concerns in the process can require an engineer to balance estimates from other companies as well as the costs that will be associated with the project to be both honest and competitive.
Once a proposal is submitted, the proposal engineer can move on to another contract. All the documentation used is available in the event the proposal is accepted and the company wants to negotiate the details of the arrangement. Engineers with a high success rate can be sought after, and may have access to benefits, bonuses, and other rewards for their work.